How to drive through Madrid penalty-free

Find here everything you need to know about how to drive through Madrid after the Madrid 2016 anti-pollution plan. This plan has been updated in 2018 with new restrictions that affect traffic and include penalties for drivers who fail to comply. Get ready to drive through Madrid without killing yourself trying.

The first thing you should know is that your chances of driving around Madrid without limitations depend on the environmental situation and the characteristics of your car. The objective is praiseworthy: to improve the city’s air quality of the city and make the Central district a real lung space. In return, we must all adapt to certain traffic restrictions we’ll explain below:

Driving through Madrid Central

Madrid Central is the name of a low emission area in which traffic is restricted. You can get there by public transportation, bicycle, motorcycles with environmental label, short-term rental vehicles or other options if your hotel is in this area. However, if you intend to drive your own car around Madrid Central, you need to consider Madrid’s anti-pollution plan.

Driving through Madrid anti-pollution plan

What kind of car do you drive?

  1. If you have a gasoline car registered after January 2000 (EURO 3 standard) or a diesel car registered after January 2006 (EURO 4 or 5 standard), you can drive to your hotel if it has its own parking space associated with the Madrid Central system. You may only park in the hotel parking space. Otherwise, if your hotel has reserved space for guests to get on and off vehicles, you will have to register your car in order to get through.

  2. If your car has an ECO label or is a Zero Emissions vehicle, you can drive around Madrid Central and also park in the regulated parking spaces (SER) for two hours if you drive ECO label cars (other cars have no time limit).

  3. If your car does not belong to these categories, forget about driving in the city center and enjoy Madrid penalty-free.

How to drive through Madrid trouble-free

How do the Central Madrid restrictions work? The dirtier the air, the greater the restrictions; these affect both cars and motorcycles, and the reference will always be the DGT label on your car. Therefore, you need to check what type of car you have and on the same day find out whether or not you can drive around Madrid and its center.

Madrid driving anti-pollution plan

Find out the 5 restrictive scenarios

  1. Scenario 1 of the Anti-Pollution Protocol: it is activated one day in advance. Speed is limited to 70 kph at the city main approach roads and the M-30. It is best to leave the car at home and use public transportation.

  2. Scenario 2 of the Anti-Pollution Protocol: it is activated one or two days in advance. You can only park in the Regulated Parking Service (SER) if your car has an ECO label or is a Zero Emissions vehicle. Vehicles without an environmental label are completely banned from city center and on the M-30.

  3. Scenario 3 of the Anti-pollution Protocol: it is implemented two or three days in advance. Vehicles without an environmental label cannot circulate within the city limits.

  4. Scenario 4 of the Anti-pollution Protocol: it is implemented four days in advance. Additionally, circulation of vehicles with a B-label is banned. It is forbidden to park in SER areas, except ECO-labelled and Zero Emissions cars.

  5. Scenario 5 of the Anti-Pollution Protocol: implemented owing to a European Union warning, although until now it has never happened in Madrid. Besides all the above restrictions, driving cars with labels B and C is banned. Only Zero Emissions cars may park in SER areas.

Following the Madrid 2019 driving regulations, these restrictions and their penalties apply to all affected vehicles, although some exceptions apply to residents and visitors with reduced mobility. Ready to drive through Central Madrid penalty-free?

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